Belfast AR Portal case study

  • Deliverable

    YouTube 16:9

  • My Role

    Production & Post Production

  • Client

    Visualise

  • Producer

    Henry Stuart

  • Director

    Jack Churchill

Visualise created an Augmented Reality portal using 360 video that I shot and edited with them. I then used my skills in traditional 2D film making to capture their installation and launch as part of a wider event held by Visit Belfast.

This project is a true example of multilayered media to create a well-rounded product and case study. Initially, I was brought onto this project under the direction of helping create 360 videos that showcased two key tourism aspects to Belfast. The themes of the Titanic and Murals were settled upon with the client, Visit Belfast, arranging local talent to guide the viewer on these journeys. I joined the project as Camera Technician for the shoot and end to end editor for post production. Being able to work so closely with the narrative on location certainly helped when it came to post as I already had a good understanding of the desired output, whilst making a lot of technical decisions on location that would help me during post production.

The two-day shoot in Belfast allowed for one day focusing on each of the two narratives. Working alongside the crew of director and D.O.P Peter Mcloughlin, producer Pablo Mahave, VR supervisor Henry Stuart and local sound recordist Chris Woodcock. We spent day 1 in the Titanic museum in their pre-built set of the construction docks, filming the two scenes that made up this film. Shot on the Sony A7Sii in a monoscopic slicer set up, we shot four 90-degree plates for each scene. This was both challenging as it meant we had to keep action confined to each quadrant (including shadows) but allowed us to light more creativity for each setup and give the director ability to stand behind the camera to develop the performances.

On day two we followed a local black cab tour guide, Billy, around some of the key scenes in Belfast, including the Bobby Sands memorial, international peace wall and Crumlin road jail. Although each of the topics could have warranted their own short film, in order to retain engagement during the AR portal, it was vital to keep the deliveries concise. Billy’s tour has to be confined to a single location, so it was chosen to only feature murals at the Duke of York pub as this told the narrative of Belfast in one courtyard. Unlike the production of the Titanic scenes, we shot on the Kandao Obsidian R as we no longer had control of our shooting environment. This meant that the crew could no longer stay in the background of a shot as this is a full all-in-one 360 camera. For the majority of shots, we had to hide around corners and remain out of sight in order to avoid being seen. However, on occasion, this wasn’t possible so we have to remain in the shot and capture clean plates so that I could patch over the crew during post production. This was indeed the technique used in the scene with Billy as we all stood in the tunnel behind the camera and then later captured a clean plate for this area.

Once the scenes had been signed off by the client, I then completed the relatively straightforward online process to clean up each of the shots and grade the scenes to match. I then delivered each film to the AR app developer, along with relevant stills and idle loops to be used in the app.

Finally, once the augmented reality experience was created, I attended the press event where the app was launched for Visit Belfast. My goal here was to create a case study film for Visualise as experiencing the full activation would be difficult without the physical doors that were created to walk through. I interviewed Henry and Peter as part of the film to discuss how the idea developed from a simple 360 video into a more physically interactive experience. Along with a good selection of b-roll, one of my key shooting techniques was using my custom-built point of view (POV) helmet. This allowed me to move my head naturally whilst the camera was attached hands-free, from here I could interact with the app in the way a user would to give the viewer of the video a true experience of the app and the feeling to walk through the doorways into another world.

Further to this, I tracked examples of the video into the door frames to show before and after views of each frame within the video, creating a jittery flashing on effect to give the film extra depth. I think these small creative techniques, tied together with strong interviews helped bring this case study together into a detailed, yet enjoyable film showing off the experience.